A night at the Keck - free public lecture

Thursday 10 July 2014

A low angle photograph of Swinburne University of Technology signage on the Advanced Technologies Centre building in Hawthorn.

Swinburne University of Technology astronomers will share their stories of discovery using twin 10-metre telescopes at the W M Keck Observatory atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii at a free public lecture on 18 July.

Each year since 2008, Swinburne astronomers have had 15 nights’ exclusive access to the world’s leading optical/infrared telescopes.

Using the observatory’s cutting-edge instrumentation, astronomers have produced amazing discoveries about the Universe.

Over the past three years alone, direct access to the Keck Observatory has enabled Swinburne astronomers to make discoveries such as the diamond planet, the emerald-cut galaxy, an ultra-compact dwarf galaxy, and more recently the discovery of a new supernova located in the outskirts of a galaxy some 100 million light years away.

Some of these discoveries are now being made via a remote control room in the middle of Swinburne’s Hawthorn campus, more than 9000 kilometres away from the Keck Observatory.

Join Associate Professor Michael Murphy, Dr Jeff Cooke, and PhD student Mark Durre to hear about their recent work.

Event details:

When:  Friday 18 July, 6.30-7.30pm
Where:  Swinburne University, Hawthorn Campus, AMDC building, AMDC301

Registration required for this event.

Dr Jeff Cooke is interested in the formation and evolution of galaxies over cosmic time via external and internal processes. He is currently leading research in three main areas: high-redshift supernova detection and study, high redshift galaxy spectroscopic properties and large- and small-scale environments, and absorption-line system investigations.

Mark Durre observes active galactic nuclei and their associated super-massive black holes, specifically looking at the dust and gas surrounding and obscuring the central engine. Using near infrared integral field spectroscopy, the kinematics, distribution and other physical parameters of these features can be determined.

Associate Professor Michael Murphy observes quasars, bright constant sources of light that can be seen at large distances and show us much of the intervening Universe. The quasar light contains signatures of fundamental physical processes in the distant Universe. In particular, it provides values for some of the fundamental constants and so allows us to see whether these supposedly immutable numbers have changed throughout the Universe's history.